Tag Archives: Animals

The Wonderful Elephant Brain

April 19th, 2016 | Brain

Enjoy this video about the highly developed elephant brain made by Alex Gendler. Elephants are much more like humans than most people realize. They can use tools, understand human body language, remember humans and other elephants for decades, and even mourn their dead.

They have roughly 300 billion neurons in their brains, which is about the same as humans. The many similarities support the theory of convergent evolution.

human and elephant brain

-RSB

Bioluminescent Hawksbill Sea Turtle

September 29th, 2015 | Brain

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Marine biologist David Gruber, of City University of New York, recently underwent a mission to film biofluorescence in small sharks and coral reefs near the Solomon Islands. The team was keeping an eye out for crocodiles in the area when surprisingly, a glowing “spaceship” hovered by them in the dark waters. It was the first time that a bioluminescent turtle had ever been caught on film.

We’ve featured biofluorescence on the site before in Japan and in the Maldives. Animals are known to use it for hunting, mating, but it’s still unclear why turtles would benefit in this case.

After this film was shot, Gruber visited with the local villages and found some captured turtles that all glowed as well. Further research will be surely be conducted to determine how these turtles acquired this amazing ability.

-RSB

Robotic Butterfly by Festo

May 20th, 2015 | Robot

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The German company, Festo, has a history of making incredible, biomimetic robots in their laboratories. We have featured kangaroos, dragonflies, and jellyfish in the past. They’ve also made Air-Penguins, Air-Ray, robotic birds, and the Airacuda. The butterfly may seem less ambitious than those efforts, but the butterflies can swarm in the air while avoiding collisions.

Each butterfly weighs a little over an ounce and has a wingspan of 20 inches. They consist of nothing more than a couple of motors, batteries, infrared markers, and soft, elastic wings.

The robots were not developed to sell but represent continued research efforts towards making ultralight, networked robotics systems. I think the company should focus on these creations and move them to market. I want one!

You can read more about the specs here.

-RSB

Spot – A Robot Dog that Can Take a Kick

February 10th, 2015 | Robot

boston dynamics robot dog spot

Boston Dynamics, previously featured here, is a Google-owned robotics company that just released a new design — Spot, the Robot Dog.

From Boston Dynamics:

“Spot is a four-legged robot designed for indoor and outdoor operation. It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. Spot has a sensor head that helps it navigate and negotiate rough terrain. Spot weighs about 160 lbs.”

I actually started to feel some empathy for Spot when he was being kicked by the engineer. It responded in such an organic way… rapidly gaining its balance and then pausing for a moment to digest the assault.

The applications for these machines are seemingly endless. They can carry supplies into dangerous environments (i.e. helping soldiers move equipment), assist the disabled with chores, or simply be a man’s new robot best friend. Exciting times ahead…

-RSB

[via NPR]

“Under My Skin” by Lucia Giacani

November 26th, 2014 | Brain

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Lucia Giacani is a fashion photographer hailing from Milan, Italy. Seen here is an editorial photo shoot for Vogue Italia called “Under My Skin.” I especially appreciate how the model’s glistening red hair matches the animal’s striated muscles.

Stylist: Dinalva Barros
Make-up: Elena Pivetta
Hair stylist: Ana Rodriguez
Manicurist: Rossella Galvani
Model: Kristina Sheiter
Special thanks: Maxwell Goodway

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No animals were harmed in the making of these photographs.

You can read more about the artist at her site.

-RSB

A New Shark Deterrent Wetsuit

May 8th, 2014 | Brain

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I’ve always had an irrational fear of sharks. Every time I go surfing, I get this horridly vivid thought of a massive shark creeping below the surface, ready to pull me into the water. Hamish Jolly shares my fear. He’s an ocean swimmer in Australia, a country with 892 shark attacks on record since 1791, 217 of which have been fatal. He set out to create a suit designed to keep humans safe in the water, and the early results look promising! The designs work by using rather simple patterns that apparently confuse the shark just enough to avoid an attack.

I’ll definitely look into wearing one of these wetsuits next time I hit the open water.

You can read more about the project here.

-RSB

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